— Ride-hailing company Lyft will partner with NuTonomy, an autonomous-technology developer, to bring self-driving cars to Boston, the companies announced Tuesday. The partnership will focus "on understanding and optimizing the end-to-end experience" of passengers in self-driving cars, Lyft and NuTonomy said in a joint statement.
NuTonomy has been testing self-driving cars since August 2016 in Singapore, where it plans to launch on-demand rides in 2018. In early 2017, the company began testing a self-driving Renault Zoe electric hatchback in Boston. (The Zoe isn't otherwise available in the U.S.) Like virtually all other self-driving vehicle programs, a trained driver sits behind the wheel to take over if need be, NuTonomy says.
A Lyft spokesperson told in an email that the NuTonomy partnership will bring the first self-driving cars to Lyft's network. The pilot program will kick off in Boston "in the coming months," the spokesperson added, and after sufficient research and development, there could be "many thousands" of self-driving cars with NuTonomy technology on Lyft's platform.
NuTonomy touts a "growing fleet of self-driving cars" in Boston's Seaport district. The initial Lyft fleet will be Renault Zoe hatchbacks, a NuTonomy spokesperson confirmed, but the timing depends on regulatory approval.
Lyft has other irons in the self-driving fire — most notably a deal in May to collaborate with Waymo, the self-driving division of Google parent Alphabet. Ride-hailing rival Uber has been testing self-driving cars in select cities since late 2016, though not without hiccups.